Sunrich Naturals Media

Heart Healthy Meal Ideas That’ll Bring Everyone to the Table

Celebrate American Heart Month with these five delicious dinners both kids and adults will love

Hope, MN - (February 2, 2012) – There’s no doubt about it:  Americans – children as well as adults - are getting fatter.  Evenings spent dining together have fallen by the wayside as kids’ activities and other commitments have taken precedence over the family dinner hour.  The result is a reliance on too many meals that come to us courtesy of a drive-through window, laden with fat, salt, and chemicals that are wreaking havoc on our health, gulped down en route to the next appointment.  Our poor eating habits have taken a huge toll.  More than 2 million Americans suffer from heart attacks and strokes each year, with 800,000 deaths - robbing us of our fathers, mothers, siblings, and friends.  

“February is American Heart Month, so it’s a great time to put your family on the road to better heart health and leaner bodies,” said Chicago-based Christina Fitzgerald, MS, RD, LDN, of Nourished Nutrition and Wellness Services.  “Start by challenging everyone to find at least one way to cut back on salt and fat in their daily diet. Resolve this month to eat home cooked dinners together as a family three times per week.  Get your kids involved by asking them to pick a recipe for their favorite food and talk about ways to reduce its salt and fat content. Carve out a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare these meals with them.  Put your healthier creations in the freezer or fridge, and reheat them on busy midweek nights for quick and hassle free meals everyone will enjoy.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, not one state in the U.S. had an obesity rate under 20 percent in 2010.   Thirty-six states had populations with obesity rates of 25 percent or higher.  Approximately one-third of U.S. adults (33.8 percent) are obese, and about 17 percent of kids aged 2-19 years are as well.  In the last 30 years childhood obesity has tripled, setting children up for future health problems that can dramatically shorten their lives: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and certain types of cancer.

Embracing a heart-healthy diet can and should be a family affair. Focusing on eating whole, fresh foods instead of processed ones can help your family beat the battle of the bulge without feeling deprived. Even high fat foods such as butter – in limited quantities - can still be part of a healthy diet.  Substituting nondairy milks such as SoL™ Sunflower Beverage, made from wholesome sunflowers, reduces the fat content of recipes traditionally made with dairy milk or cream while adding powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect the heart. Monosaturated oils such as olive or sunflower oils are excellent substitutes for saturated animal fats and hydrogenated, or trans fats.  Sprinkling vinegar, hot sauce, or herbs on your food in place of salt adds flavor and keeps the sodium content of your foods at healthier levels.

Try these delicious recipes and you’ll be convinced that heart healthy doesn’t have to mean boring:

  • Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a saucepan combine ¼ c. flour, ¼ c. light butter and 1 c. SoL™ Unsweetened. Cook over low heat till slightly thickened and bubbly. Allow the sauce to reduce until it coats the sides. Add 4 cloves minced garlic and the shredded meat of one rotisserie chicken (buy unflavored or plain roasted) to the sauce. Stir, then fold into the 2 c. cooked wild rice. After thoroughly combining, transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle with 3 T. whole wheat bread crumbs. Top with your favorite low fat shredded cheese. Cook for 25 minutes. Serves 4.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 340, Fat 15g, Carbs. 33g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 3g, Protein 18g

  • Salmon Chowder
    Rinse 1 lb. fresh, skinless salmon fillets and pat dry. Bring about 1 and 1/2 cups water to boiling. Add salmon. Return to boiling; then reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 8 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Remove salmon from skillet, discarding the liquid. Flake salmon into 1/2-inch pieces; set aside.

In a large pot, combine 3 ½ c. low sodium vegetable broth, 1 c. chopped white onion, ½ t. each of salt and pepper, 1 T. fresh chopped dill, 2 ½ c. cubed red potatoes, and 1 t. fresh lemon zest. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine 2 T. cornstarch and 2 ½ c. SoL™ Unsweetened. Whisk together; stir into soup. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for an additional 3 minutes and then gently stir in poached salmon. Heat through. Serve immediately.  Serves 8.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories 150, Total fat 5 g, Total carbohydrate 13 g, Dietary fiber 2 g, Sugars 2 g, Protein 13 g

  • Mango Chipotle Chicken Salad

Preheat oven to 350.  Rinse and pat dry four 4 oz. chicken breasts.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Lay breasts on sheet and spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika to taste.  Flip breasts over and repeat on other side.  Bake for 15 minutes until juices run clear.  Set aside. 

In a blender, combine ¼ c. SoL™ Unsweetened, 1 whole pasteurized egg, 3 T. mango puree, 1 T. chipotle sauce, 1 T. lemon juice, ½ t. Salt, 1 t. granulated sugar, and ½ cup sunflower or vegetable oil.  Blend until thick and creamy. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.   Pour dressing over 8 cups of salad greens and toss.  Chop chicken breasts into cubes and add to salad greens and toss again. Divide on to 4 plates and serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories 318, Total fat 14 g, Total carbohydrate 10g, Dietary fiber 0 g, Sugars 2 g, Protein 25 g


  • Potato and Cheddar Soup – In a large pot melt 4 T. unsalted butter over med-low heat. Add 6 chopped scallions, 3 stalks of diced celery and 2 diced carrots. Cook until tender; about 10 minutes. Sprinkle ¼ c. flour over vegetables and add 5 c. SoL™ Unsweetened, 1 c. at a time, stirring constantly. Add 1 peeled and diced Russet potato. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the potato is soft – 20-30 minutes. Now you can either puree the soup in a blender or leave it chunky. Whisk in 8oz. fat free white cheddar cheese. Add 1 t. Tabasco and 1 t. Worcestershire sauce.  Makes 10 servings.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 210, Fat 14g, Carbs 13g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 2g, Protein 8g

  • Sunflower Seed Crusted Chicken Fingers – Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the foil and spray with cooking spray. In a food processor add ½ c. raw, unsalted sunflower kernels, ¼ c. whole wheat flour, 1 ½ t. paprika, ½ t. garlic powder, ½ t. dry mustard, and some salt and pepper. Process for about 1 minute, or until sunflower seeds are fine. With motor running, drizzle in 1 ½ t. extra virgin olive oil; process until combined. Transfer mixture to shallow dish. Whisk 4 egg whites and ¼ c. SoL™ Original in a dish. Add 1 lb. chicken tenders, turning to coat. Dip chicken tenders in seed mixture and place the chicken on the rack.  Spray with cooking spray, turn over and spray again. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Serves 4.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 174, Fat 4g, Carbs 4g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 0g, Protein 27g

For more heart-healthy recipe ideas featuring SoL™ Sunflower Beverage, visit
About Sunrich Naturals®
Sunrich Naturals®, maker of SoL™ Refreshing Sunflower Beverage, has been working with American family farms to produce wholesome organic and natural foods for over 25 years. Sunrich Naturals® believes that healthy, good food starts with a healthy, good Earth. This simple belief guides everything we do – how we work with farmers, handle and process our grains, and produce our natural and organic foods. Our products can be found in many fine supermarkets, natural food retailers, and health food stores nationwide.

Sunrich Naturals® is a brand of SunOpta Inc., a leader in natural and organic ingredients, raw materials and consumer products and the largest sunflower processor in the United States. 

Media Contact:
Laura Fontanills
Healthy Living Marketing/ Common Language